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August 29, 2005

Apropos of nothing...

We come as conquerors, but not as oppressors.

-General Eisenhower to the German people as Allied forces entered Germany, 1944.

The success of this occupation can only be judged fity years from now. If the Germans at the time have a stable, prosperous democracy, then we shall have succeeded.

-General Eisenhower in Frankfurt, October 1945.


Doing some research for unrelated topics I came across those quotes, along with the question, "Why didn't President Bush say something like that when we entered Baghdad?"

Mebbe because it's been done before, and has bad resonance?

People of Baghdad, remember for 26 generations you have suffered under strange tyrants who have ever endeavoured to set one Arab house against another in order that they might profit by your dissensions. This policy is abhorrent to Great Britain and her Allies for there can be neither peace nor prosperity where there is enmity or misgovernment. Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.

Proclamation to the People of the Wilayat of Baghdad, Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, March 1917.

"We fought this war and are reorganizing these new governments for the purpose of maintaining a democratic peace; but if continual quarrel and war are to succeed these changes on the map, the purpose of the war and the treaty will fail."

-National Geographic, 1919.

There is no quick, short answer to the problem of Iraq. Just as there was no quick, short answer to Germany and Japan, either.

Just as there *still* are foreign troops in Bosnia and Kosovo. Changes of the magnitude we're trying to implement take generations to take root and flourish. But I wonder if we have the stomach for it?

Because if we don't - well, we have to rethink how we are going about things, and the Army we are building to do the military side of things.

Because if we build the Army of Rumsfeld's dream of military power - we have no choice but to build coalitions of sufficient size that others can provide the manpower garrisoning of this type requires. Then the US Army becomes the instrument of battlefield destruction and annihilation of an enemy's capacity to resist in conventional fashion.. but others will have to take up the slack that long term suppression of guerilla movements requires.

Food for thought.

Summary: Because they lack a coherent strategy, U.S. forces in Iraq have failed to defeat the insurgency or improve security. Winning will require a new approach to counterinsurgency, one that focuses on providing security to Iraqis rather than hunting down insurgents. And it will take at least a decade.

Read Andrew Krepinevich's piece here.

This is the very antithesis of the Army Mr. Rumsfeld is trying to build, I think.

The problem is - we can't afford both Armies, which means we need partners... but most of the major players who could make the difference are either competitors, or, frankly, just don't give a rat's ass until it's their butt in the fire. The Continental Euro's didn't act on the Balkans until we agreed to do the initial heavy lifting. They have been participating in Afghanistan, but in most respects have so gutted their miltary capacity that they can't provide that much more support, even if they wanted to - unless we were going to do the logistics.

A double-edged sword, eh? A militarized Europe is a dangerous Europe. A relatively un-militarized Europe (and take away Brit and US capacity) is essentially a genocidal maniac's dream.

Sigh. I shouldn't read so much.

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